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04/16/2004 Archived Entry: "Thank you, Philo T. Farnsworth"
Posted by CKL @ 05:01 PM PST

Every April, the TV Turnoff Network advocates a "TV Turnoff Week" during which participants voluntarily watch no television at all.

To which I say: what are you, insane? The WB just started airing the last six episodes of Angel! My TV is on!

But then, I think I'm a pretty atypical TV watcher. I don't get home every night, plop down on the couch, and channel-surf until the eleven o'clock news comes on. I have TiVo, I hate sitcoms, and I can't stand reality shows. I'm pretty picky about what I do watch, and I don't let TV rule my life.

The tvturnoff.org fact sheets do contain some pretty appalling statistics. Whether you choose to believe them is your business. For example:

  • Amount of television that the average American watches per day: over 4 hours
  • Time per day that TV is on in an average US home: 7 hours, 40 minutes
  • Chance that an American falls asleep with the TV on at least three nights a week: 1 in 4
The first two stats quoted above come from Nielsen Media Research, dated 2000. The third one I trust even less, since it's from the January, 1996, Harper's Index. That's right, over eight years ago.

To paraphrase Mark Twain said: there are lies, there are damned lies, and there are statistics, and then there are outdated statistics.

Replies: 9 comments

In the absence of TiVo turning off the TV for a week make a surprising difference. I don't watch TV that often but in a house of 4 people...

Each person took a digit of the parental code and we locked out all the channels. Highly recommended. If I had my way we'd kill the TV entirely.

gmail power.

Posted by August @ 04/29/2004 06:41 PM PST

TiVo is neat-o stuff, but the same thing can be done with a Linux box. Just install a TV capture card and all the right software and away you go.

Doesn't Google use Linux to run services like _Gmail_?

Posted by Danny Boy @ 04/29/2004 07:35 PM PST

Welp, Television, Never really watch it anymore due to my "always on" internet connection that I myself am always on! I can still remember leaving the television on during the night when I was a child, Its just something about the light casted out by a tv that makes a child think they are safe, I guess children think monsters dont like light. Mostly I find myself watching music videos and different things that you'd see on television on my computer its just more comfortable for me although I'd like to upgrade my computer chair.
Anywho, Only thing I really watch on tv is cops :)

Posted by Michael Durai @ 04/30/2004 12:01 AM PST

Hope that was interesting, Check out my blog sometime, Even though I've just gotten back taking things down and recreating my website to include the blogger without interrupting the design I still list alot of different projects that I'm working on that you may find interesting.

Posted by Michael Durai @ 04/30/2004 12:03 AM PST

hmmm...Turn off tv week is right before May sweeps. Coincidence? I wonder...

TiVo really is the greatest invention ever, time-shifted viewing is pretty darn close to content on-demand. On the other hand, I once went two years without cable, and it was only a month before I really stopped missing it at all. On the rare times I did watch tv, I was struck by how inane all the stuff I'd salivated over before really was. Unfortunately, I eventually moved and had cable again, took less than a week for me to be sucked right in again...I'm once again a member of the mind-numbed masses.

*crossing fingers for a gmail invite*

Posted by Win @ 04/30/2004 10:07 AM PST

I posted a message earlier about "friends" but I keep missing the shows on Thursdays and have to record them or get a friend to record them. Is TiVo really worth the money? Does it hold a lot of memory or are you constantly having to delete shows that you've saved? I can't decide whether or not to jump on the bandwagon and get one. I am willing to get on the gmail wagon because of all of google's success, but I haven't heard much news since TiVo came out on the market.

Posted by letcp @ 04/30/2004 02:56 PM PST

I can't see why turning off the TV for one week would help anything. The following week everybody would be back to it as usual. I think just limiting the TV every day or week would be a better option.

I was just browsing the net for gmail invites and found your blog. And, I am picking up pointers for setting up a blog. BTW...very nice blog. Maybe you still have an extra invite??

Posted by sassy @ 05/01/2004 09:35 PM PST

To those who poo-poo this, I have to ask, have you ever tried quitting something like watching tv or using the computer for a week? I decided to quit using my computer for a whole week a while ago, and since then have probably used it about half the time I used to. Why? Because it gave me a chance to do some other fun activities and made me realize how much I was missing.

Granted, it doesn't work for everyone, but it's especially effective for people who don't know how else to spend their time. Force them to get out and do stuff (bowling, hiking, for instance), and I guarantee most of the time they will get hooked on those activities (after all, if they were addicted to tv, why not something else), and cut down on their tv time.

Posted by Jeff @ 05/02/2004 10:19 PM PST

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